- Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has tasked the federal government with the necessity to curb HIV/AIDS through appropriate funding
- His outcry was analysed and unveiled by AIDS Health Care Foundation (AHF) on August 27 during a Keep The Promise screening
- At the screening, DG NACA, DR Sani Aliu, charged the media to use its tool in holding the government accountable to their promises
Prof Wole Soyinka has challenged the federal government to keep their promise and take full monetary responsibility in curbing the epidemic of HIV/AIDS sweeping the country.
Soyinka's outcry was unveiled in a 'keep the promise to AIDS' video by AIDS Health Care Foundation (AHF) on August 27. Attempting to speak to the conscience of the powers that be, he hammered that the government has an obligation to its citizens and should fulfill it.
"The government has made promises; they have the power to step down the epidemic" his voice echoed through the speakers. You witness campaigns by voluntary bodies urging safe and responsible lifestyle among the most vulnerable youths.
"These campaigns need official backing and resources, let this be a commitment and moral duty to implement plans that would wipe out AIDS within this generation. You have global obligations, fulfill them and keep your promises," Soyinka said.
Speaking to the stakeholders and guests present, AHF country director, Dr Echey Ijezie, reiterated the pressing need for the caregivers to be wholly supported by the federal government instead of hanging on the back of foreign donors.
Ijezie reiterated the commitment of the organisations to speak against the 'ills, gaps and challenges' faced in their attempt to spreading love and treatment to all those living with the virus. His words: "AHF will continue to advocate the ills, gaps and challenges in treatment, standing against discrimination and ensuring that love is shown to persons living with the virus."
He also revealed that it cost less than N50,000 to provide a year-long treatment for a single infected patient.
Director general National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr Sani Aliu, on his part, painted a vivid picture of the problem being faced by the caregivers in trying to arrest the undeniably growing epidemic.
Addressing the people present at the Keep The Promise screening, he revealed that statistics read that over one million Nigerians are under treatment of HIV/AIDS but certain challenges still slow down the process, funds being one of such.
NACA's Aliu stated that HIV treatment is a right of every infected Nigerian and the country should not lag behind in curbing what could be a danger to future generations if not arrested now.
In emphasizing the role of the media towards being the voice of the people, Premium Times publisher, Dapo Olorunyomi described the media as an accountability mechanism which can be used in pushing the government to do the needful concerning funding the HIV/AIDS movement.
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Olorunyomi also advised that efforts should be made to understand the challenges faced by the caregivers. He believes that shinning a light on such problem is one way to command and force solutions.
Strategic Intervention Adviser The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Dr Modupe Oduwole, also addressed the guests while sited on the high table. Modupe's major point revolved around the problem of stigmatization. In her opinion, the media, can do a lot in changing the narrative regarding HIV/AIDS as well as being a driving force of accountability and transparency to the government.
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